Thieves have stolen at least 72 iron angle bars from the Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC) transmission towers for the 33KV power line from Kariba Power Station.
The power line supplies Alaska substation for onward distribution to other parts of the country and feeds regional countries including Botswana and South Africa.
Linked together to build the electricity pylons, the bars combine to give sturdiness and structural integrity to withstand the vagaries of weather to the towers.
At least six towers were affected with 12 bars each being taken away raising fears that if unchecked and vandalism of the structures continue, the towers could eventually collapse.
They raided iron bars from pylons 30, 31 and 32.
The theft is suspected to have taken place between October and early January this year as ZETDC’s loss control team conducted the last quarterly inspections in September and the towers were intact.
According to sources, the thieves used a wooden ladder and spanners to unscrew bolts fastening the galvanized angle bars to the main frame.
They took 72 bolts, washers, nuts and angle bars inscribed K159A, K160A and K161A.
“The thieves hit the structures between October and early this year. They took away iron angle bars, nuts and washers among others,” said a source close to the investigations.
“The development threatens the integrity of the national power transmission infrastructure and effort is being made to account for the culprits so that our power supply is not disrupted.”
It is suspected that the bars could have been stolen and sold to boat makers in Kariba and across the border in Zambia.
“Our main worry is that if this issue is not nipped in the bud, it could continue and one of these days the structures could collapse, affecting the country’s power supply,” said another source.
The thieves were privy to the knowledge that electricity produces radiation and electromagnetic force and hence targeted the lower parts of the transmission towers where there is less magnetic force.
The last 5 metres up to the power cables of the high voltage power line produces magnetic force which leads to electrocution.